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Key Elements to Selling a Dental Practice

No doubt about it, transitioning your practice is the culmination of a lifetime of work, the capstone to your career. It’s a bittersweet time. It’s hard to hand what you’ve spent decades building, over to someone who, however qualified and well-intentioned, will not run it the way you did. But, reaping the reward of all of that hard work, and enjoying the proceeds, can be a rewarding time of life. With all of this, you don’t need any unnecessary stress. When it comes to selling a dental practice, there is already quite a bit of stress that is unavoidable.

The good news is, there are also a lot of stress factors that can be avoided. With planning and the right team surrounding you, your transition can be much easier than it would be otherwise. Below, we’ll discuss a couple of factors that can make all the difference between a smooth transition, and a disaster.

Set Your Goals

The first thing is to determine what it is that you want out of your transition. While the sale price is certainly a major factor, it’s hardly the only one. How do you want to sell? An outright sale where you get cash for the full amount and hand over the keys? A buy-in where you work with an associate who purchases the practice over time? Do you want to stay in the practice for a while after the sale, or do you want to hand over the keys and walk away? What kind of buyer are you looking for? One with the deepest pockets, or one who will best take care of your legacy and your staff? These questions need to be considered carefully in order to ensure the practice transition is the one you want, on the terms that matter most to you.

Once you have your team (more on that below), discuss your goals with them. Get feedback from your advisors, your family, other doctors you know who’ve had good (or bad) transitions. This will help greatly to clarify what is best for you and your practice, and will be invaluable to getting you to the goals you set for the transition. Also, your advisors need to know what they are working toward, or they can’t help you get there.

Plan Ahead

If you haven’t guessed already, a practice transition is a complicated process that balances several factors, some of which may be competing, and no two transitions look alike. Because of this, there is no such thing as “too soon” to start thinking about it. A good rule of thumb, however, is five years ahead of any transition. When you think you are less than five years away from selling a dental practice, you should have your practice assessed for transition.

This assessment, by a dental broker or dental business valuator, will give you a sense of the value of your practice. It will also, importantly, give you a better sense of what changes you should consider that can add value to your practice in advance of a sale, and which changes you shouldn’t bother with. Of course, as discussed above, you need to have a sense of how you want to transition your practice before you have it evaluated, as that will factor greatly into what changes you should be thinking about.

When you are at the point where you are ready to move forward with the transition, its essential to pick a firm date to have the transaction completed. There are a lot of details to be worked out—financial, legal, real estate, etc.—and a lot of places where negotiations can get sidetracked. Getting mired in endless discussions about the minutia can be maddening, and create unnecessary stress and frustration, tainting the process. Building in a non-negotiable closing date keeps everyone on track and moving toward the finish line at the right pace. In real estate, this is known as the “time is of the essence” clause, where if a party fails to meet the deadline, the deal is off.

That being said, as mentioned above, every transition is different. There are a lot of factors at play, from the personalities involved, to the location of the practice, and some delay may be inevitable when you put up a dental practice for sale. Texas, for instance, has major city markets and smaller rural areas. Some things happen faster in the big city, where professionals are abundant. But, that also may mean you end up waiting in line with everyone else trying to do the same thing. In a smaller market, you may have fewer options, but sometimes things get done faster where everyone knows everyone else. This is to say, be firm on your closing date, but be flexible if a change in schedule is necessary or possibly even advantageous to you getting what you want out of the deal.

Expert Advice

We’ve mentioned your team a few times already. Who should be on your team? At minimum, you should have a dental attorney, a dental CPA, and a dental broker. These are experts knowledgeable about the particulars of their respective fields specifically as they relate to the dental business in transition.

Why not use your brother-in-law who is a good general attorney? Or a family friend with a great accounting firm? There are two reasons.

First, there are things about the business of dental practice that don’t come into play in other industries. Dental attorneys know what is standard practice for a transition and which parts of your transition may be unique. They’re not going to have to take the time to figure out the nuances of the industry, which reduces your costs, while increasing your protection.

Dental CPAs understand the tax implications of the sale and can advise on how to allocate costs in a way that will be the most advantageous to you, and make sure the money is being handled property. A mistake here could cost you thousands.

A dental broker like ddsmatch Southwest is someone in your corner who has the experience of managing numerous transitions and can walk you through each step of the process. They can also work with the other members of your team, keeping you as involved (or not involved) as much as you want.

And the second reason for a strong team is that this is probably the biggest business dealing you’ve ever been a party to, and will set the stage for the rest of your life. Why take chances? Put experience on your side.

Let ddsmatch Southwest Take the Stress out of Selling a Dental Practice

Too often, the practice transition starts off hopeful, but inexperience becomes an obstruction that can delay or derail the whole process. The ddsmatch Southwest team consists of trusted dental brokers who bring the experience of hundreds of transitions from across the country. Our Trusted Transition Process™ is a proven method to help you meet your goals in putting your dental practice for sale. Texas and New Mexico are our primary markets, but we are happy to refer you to our capable affiliates in other regions.

If you are considering a transition in the next five years, give us a call for a free, no-obligation Practice Transition Assessment. Find out what we can do for you today.

Low-Cost Tech Upgrades Increase Value for Your Dental Office for Sale

The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is a gem of pragmatism. If you’ve built a successful dental practice using a certain set of tools and techniques, why change? Change for the sake of change is not a good argument. If, however, you are considering putting your dental office for sale within the next five years, there are some updates that can increase the value of your practice.

While there is likely nothing wrong with the way that you practice, you should consider that potential buyers are going to be younger than you, and more experienced using newer equipment. When they look at your practice, they will see the value of it as a business, but may also see outdated technology that, while it works just fine, may not be what they are experienced using, and may not be what they envision for a 21st-century dental office.

The question is, which investments in office technology upgrades will bring a return, and which won’t. Here we discuss some high-impact, yet low-cost, technological upgrades that can boost the value of your practice. We’re not talking about a full office remodel, just a few changes that can have a real impact on your practice, and on your patients.

If you are considering transitioning your practice within the next five years, it is also worthwhile to have an outside consultant review your office and make recommendations about other possible value-building updates. Here at ddsmatch Southwest, one of our specialties is consulting with doctors about getting ready to transition their practice, and we can look at the particulars of your practice area to help you get ready to put up your dental practice for sale. San Antonio, TX, for instance, is a very different market than Lubbock, and that needs to be considered. What will bring value in Dallas, might not in Midland.

Digital Radiography: Save Time and Build Goodwill with Your Patients

Digital radiography is a great update to an office that is using X-rays. First, it’s faster than an X-ray. Capturing the image is quick and easy, and it’s available on a computer screen right next to your patient in the dental chair. This makes informed consent and patient education simpler. Patients find it impressive, and they will appreciate not being exposed to radiation. This can be a very pleasant surprise the first time a patient encounters it.

If you are using patient software, you’ll want to check compatibility to make sure whatever digital radiography system you choose will integrate with your existing system. And, while there is a learning curve involved, ultimately, you’ll find that digital radiography will save you time.  And, this time adds up over months and years.

Electric Handpieces: Greater Consistency and Control without the “Drilling Sound”

While you may have developed an immunity to the high-pitched whine of your drill, you can be sure that your patients have not. Few things send a shiver down the spine of dental patients like the dreaded “drilling sound.” Many of the newer electric handpieces are designed to be as close to silent as they can be. So while the work you are performing remains the same, your patient’s experience during the treatment will be very different, even if primarily from a psychological standpoint.

In a more practical sense, electric handpieces provide consistent levels of torque—which allow you to work more efficiently—and produce smoother tooth preparations. Additionally, they cut more easily through crowns and restorative material, where the bur on air-driven handpieces are more likely to make chattering noises and may produce a less efficient cut. They are also more effective and efficient when dealing with metals, ceramics, and polishing composites.

There are a variety of products available, and it’s worthwhile to consider their benefits and compromises. There are varying degrees of features and versatility, including things like programmable and variable settings, and touch screens. Find a system with a good user interface that you feel comfortable using. Consider which options would most benefit your practice and clientele. Also, if you are consulting with an outside expert on value-building, consider they’ll help you consider where your potential buyers may place greater value.

And, while there will be a bit of a learning curve as with digital radiography, ultimately, it will make your practice more efficient and provide a better experience for your patients. Whether you are considering putting your dental office for sale or not, this upgrade will have nothing but a positive impact on your practice. If you are, for instance, putting your dental practice for sale, San Antonio, TX, patients are the same as anywhere— no one wants to hear that “drilling sound” ever again, if they can avoid it.

Intraoral Camera: Let Your Patients See What You See

An intraoral camera can prove the truth of a couple of other old adages, that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and “talk is cheap.” Intraoral cameras allow your patient to see what you see. Rather than just explaining what the problem is, and why its a problem, you can show them. The impact of seeing a cracked tooth goes a long way towards understanding why it’s such a significant problem, and why the care being recommended is in the patient’s best interest, not simply a dentist’s sales effort.

Intraoral cameras can impact ongoing care as well. By building a photographic record of your patient’s teeth, you can use this to document progress, which the patient may find encouraging. You can also use the technology to do document a problem that is becoming more severe, to educate more reluctant patients. Additionally, your hygienists can use the images to document calculus buildup and, similarly, show the effects of good brushing and flossing, or the lack thereof.

As with the other technological improvements discussed above, the response from patients will be positive. The more they can understand about what you see and why you recommend treatments, the more confidence they’ll have in you, and your recommendations. This increase in confidence can help with patient retention, referrals, and patient compliance with recommended treatments. All of which is good for your bottom line, increasing the value of your practice.

Build Value Before You Put Your Dental Practice for Sale

You may think, “if the buying dentist wants all of these fancy gadgets, let them foot the bill.” And, honestly, depending on your market, that may be the smart move. Generally, however, these are low-cost ways to increase the value of your practice through patient satisfaction and retention, increasing procedures performed and collections, and making your office more attractive to buyers.

But, every practice is different. This is why, if you are considering transitioning in the next five years, now is a good time to call ddsmatch Southwest for a Free Practice Transition Assessment. Let us take the experience of hundreds of dentists from across the country and use it to help you get what you want out of your transition.

Call to schedule your no-obligation assessment today.

Be Prepared for Life’s Surprises

Be Proactive in Listing Your Dental Office for Sale

Life comes at you fast. Everyone has their share of accidents, illness, and other life-changing events, some more tragic than others. We all share the dream of exiting our careers on our own terms and on our own schedule, but rarely do we consider how easily that can be derailed. If you’ve read our recent post, “ In His Own Words: How ddsmatch Southwest Helped Me in Selling a Dental Practice,” you recognize the need to be ready for whatever life brings your way. While you may very well enjoy a decades-long practice and retire on your own terms, not everyone will be so lucky. But, you can be prepared.

Below are five steps to help you be ready to put your dental office for sale in case of an emergency.

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

No one has bemoaned being too prepared, but too many find out the hard way they were not prepared enough. Even if you never need a contingency plan, you’ll benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that, should the unexpected happen, the people you care about and the practice you’ve built will be taken care of.

Clearly Define Your Retirement Goals

First, you should have a reasonable retirement plan that can be put into place at any time. Wherever you are in your career, it pays to thinking about what you need to get out of a sale of your practice if there were an emergency, so you could be able to live and support your loved ones in the way that you want. This requires a fair amount of advance planning and outside help.

If you don’t have a dental CPA, find one. The same goes for a dental attorney, a practice broker, such as ddsmatch Southwest, and possibly an insurance advisor and a practice consultant. If you don’t know how to find qualified team members, your broker can help. Here at ddsmatch Southwest, we have a large team of strategic partners and can make referrals to experts based on our extensive experience in dental practice transitions.

Once you have your team in place, they can work with you to clearly identify the amount you think you need to net from the sale of your practice. Then have your dental CPA, insurance advisor, and practice consultant take a look at your books and your practice to determine whether its realistic with your current practice. If you need to increase collections or cash flow, your advisors can help guide you well in advance about what investments will bring the most reasonable returns, and which won’t. They can suggest or talk you through other changes that can help you maximize your earnings, investments, and savings, while reducing costs and taxes.

Maximize Value without Losing Value

The old maxim that it takes money to make money is true. If you need to invest in or expand your practice to meet your retirement goals, it’s going to require a capital investment. A common mistake is a dentist investing in growth without adequately protecting their current assets and practice. Also, value-saving measures don’t have to be austere. It can include non-compete agreements with your key staff members and associates. It can include an insurance review. It can include better tax planning to identify areas for savings. It definitely should include a solid plan to protect your personal and practice assets. Your advisors can help you make a plan that won’t overly burden your current practice, savings, or income.

Remember, your goals here are to grow the practice and increase cash flow, while still being prepared for whatever comes your way. There are established methods of doing this in the dental industry: grow your patient base, optimize treatment plan acceptance, improve your patient’s overall experience (customer service). You should regularly review your fee schedule and, when you do, negotiate those with the insurance providers. This simple step can add 5-10% on average to your revenue.

Finally, an important asset to your practice is your staff. Create an office culture that inspires loyalty and, when the time for transition approaches, work with your staff to ensure they stay on through the transition.

Figure Out What Kind of Sale You Want

Basically, this is about whether you want an outright sale of the entire practice to an outside dentist or whether you want to bring on an associate with a buy-in agreement.

An outright sale can be good, as it yields a lump sum payment for the entire value of the practice. It allows for a fast transition and, financially, is less risky than a buy-in. But there are things to watch out for:

  • Until you close escrow, it’s still your practice. Treat it that way. Don’t go into retirement mode before you close.
  • Don’t just take the first bidder. Get the buyer that you want to protect what you have built (brokers such as your ddsmatch Southwest team are experienced with finding and matching appropriate buyers).
  • Don’t try and hide negative news from your buyer. They’ll find it out eventually, and it may be much harder to manage and erode trust after the fact.
  • Conversely, a lot of information needs to be confidential, make sure you keep that confidence.  Your advisors will help you determine which information should be held closely, and which is shared.
  • Don’t market your practice before its ready. A broker, business valuator (such as Blue & Co., a ddsmatch Southwest strategic partner), or an experienced dental CPA can advise on worthwhile investments that can maximize your practice value before showing it to potential buyers.

If you think retirement is still a long way off, you may want to consider an inside transfer. That would mean something like selling to an associate over a period of years, three to five being fairly typical. A benefit of this is that it allows you to grow the practice in the interim, and perhaps take more time for your own interests. It can also be motivating to associates and encourage them to stay.

Again, however, it will require diligence and careful planning in conjunction with your team of advisors. Your lawyer in particular will be key–you’ll need a solid agreement that clearly details the agreement and its terms: when the transition will be, how the transition will occur, what will be the measure for valuing the practice, how will everyone be paid, and how and under what conditions can the agreement be cancelled.

Contingency Planning for the Practice

The first three steps all apply when you are putting your dental office for sale on your own terms. This step, and the next one, address contingency plans for when you must do it on life’s terms, instead. If you pass away, are injured, or start seeing signs your body is not going to cooperate with your timelines, you need to ensure that your practice continues operating at the highest level possible until a sale can be completed. This will allow you and your family to get the full value of the practice, while protecting your employees and providing continued care for your patients.

Some contingency plans may include a buy-sell agreement.  This is an agreement used to reallocate a share of a business if an owner dies or leaves the business and requires that the business share is sold to the company or the remaining members of the business according to a predetermined formula. Life and disability insurance plans also play a role. The proceeds from insurance can be used in a variety of ways, including hiring an associate to work in the practice until a sale is complete.

Your Personal Contingency Plan

If you haven’t done so already, work closely with your dental lawyer and dental CPA to get your affairs in order. If you have already done this, review it with your advisors and make sure its adequate to meet your retirement and contingency goals. It should be adequate to cover your family’s needs, but also to take care of you long-term in case of disability. If you are lacking assets to cover these costs, consider life and disability insurance plans. Your documents should also include things like assigning power of attorney and an advance medical directive.

Start Planning Now: Be Ready to Put Your Dental Office for Sale

A common rule of thumb is that two to five years is the window for planning for transitioning your practice. But, when it comes to being prepared, it’s never too early to start. Here at ddsmatch Southwest, we offer a free Practice Transition Assessment for dentists who are looking at transitioning in the next five years. It’s an easy way to get a professional look at your practice and what changes would be advantageous to maximize value before you put your dental office for sale. Contact us today for your no-obligation assessment.

In His Own Words: “Call DDSMatch Southwest”

Dr. Mitch Conditt, a dentist from Fort Worth, Texas, found himself in an unexpected and unfortunate position: he was having increasing difficulty holding a handpiece, and he knew it wasn’t going to get better. Retirement wasn’t yet on his radar, yet it was clear he needed help with something he’d never done in his 30-plus-year career: selling a dental practice. He didn’t know where to start, but he knew that ddsmatch Southwest did. Here, in his own words, was his experience.

“My Hands Just Were in Real Bad Shape”: How Dr. Conditt Came to Need Guidance in Selling a Dental Practice

“I’m a general dentist in Fort Worth, Texas. I’ve been practicing since 1985, mostly a restorative and cosmetic practice. Been in the same location, everything, since day one. Noticed probably about three or four years ago that I was starting to get some ailments with my body. Had some neck surgery, shoulder surgery, hand surgery, different things like that. I could see the writing on the wall that this wasn’t going to go on for a long, long time before I couldn’t really work much more.

“I started getting into a different field of dentistry, which was sleep and TMJ [temporomandibular joints], where I didn’t really have to hold handpieces, use my hands so much, do things like that. I started getting into that, knowing that this was going to happen, that one day I would need to sell. Actually, it happened a lot faster than I thought. It almost happened overnight. All of a sudden, I couldn’t hardly hold a handpiece. My hands just were in real bad shape.

“Interestingly, I had talked with Andy [Edmister] with ddsmatch [Southwest] probably about a year and a half earlier. Ran into him at Chicago Midwinter Meeting. He just showed me what he was doing. He just took me over to his booth, because I’ve known Andy for a long, long time. He just showed me what was going on, how things were doing, and what he was doing now. He said, ‘If you ever want to have your practice evaluated,’ he goes, ‘We’ll come in and evaluate it to see what’s going on.’ I kept that in mind. Then literally it must have been about the summer, maybe even the early fall of the following year, it hit me and I thought, ‘Oh, this is going to happen really, really quick.’

“I called Andy and I said, ‘I’m ready,’ and he said, ‘Well, thinking, what, another six months?’ I said, ‘No, I’m ready, like, tomorrow.’

“He got out here, he did the evaluation on the practice and all this stuff. I said, ‘Look, if you can just do this for me and let me keep doing what I’m doing, that would be great.’ He said, ‘Don’t even hardly need you,’ and he just did everything he needed to do. It took very little effort from me or my time.

“It’s not maybe two months later, he calls me up and he says, ‘We’ve got someone that I think you might want to talk to.’ I said, ‘Great.’ He said, ‘Let me get everything really kind of figured out before we even pull you in on it, but we think we may have a possibility.’ Weeks later he said, ‘This thing is, I think, going to work.’ Apparently he was working with Dr. Blair, who bought my practice. He was working with her and they were getting their ducks in a row and all that. I didn’t even know if I knew who it was back then, but I know that I didn’t do anything. Basically at one point, not much longer, he said, ‘Well, I think we’ve got a done deal.’

“Then we got a couple of attorneys to wrap it up, and in no time at all it was done. It could not have been easier. I’ve had several of my friends that I’ve talked to that have gone through prospective buyer after buyer after buyer after buyer, and nothing ever panned out, things fell through. It just didn’t work out for some reason, whether it was funding or whatever it was. This thing just went smooth as silk. Literally by March 2, we closed.

“Literally, there was no way it could’ve gone any better.”

Putting Your Dental Practice for Sale Doesn’t Mean You Have to Stop Practicing

Although Dr. Conditt was selling a dental practice, he still wanted to practice, and he “still wanted to do sleep and TMJ.”

“It wasn’t even really in the contract that I had to do that, but  . . . [w]hy would I really want to leave here? This is where I’ve been coming for 30-something years, every day. We had a spot where I had been doing sleep and TMJ out of this office. I kept the same little place I was at. It’s worked out great for me. . . . I wouldn’t say I’m looking at full retirement for a good while, but I only practice about eight days a month. . . . That’s not a lot of work really. I would practice more if I wanted, if my body’s fine, and I’m doing something that I could do for ten more years if I wanted to do it.”

Why Having Trusted Advisors is Critically Necessary

When selling your dental practice, you need a professional team with experience in things like dental accounting and valuation, real estate, legal transactions, and more. Because your speciality is dentistry, not in dental brokerage, ddsmatch Southwest can help you find the right team to get you what your practice is worth. ddsmatch Southwest has a strategic partnership with Blue & Co., an accounting and consulting firm with dental CPAs and certified business valuators.

Dr. Conditt explains his experience with Blue & Co. and the other professionals ddsmatch Southwest matched him with and why its essential to follow the advice of experienced professionals:

“The terms of the deal were exactly what we asked for. [Blue & Co.] came in and did all the work. . . . As far as I can remember, and I’m almost positive, we didn’t change one single thing in the contract. It went just exactly as Andy and them put it out there. That’s how it went.”

Dr. Conditt’s Tips to Dentists Looking to Retire in a Few Years

Get an Evaluation

“Obviously I’d ask Andy to make sure on something like this, but I’m thinking if you’re even close to a year, maybe even two years out, why not go ahead and get your practice evaluated, have Blue [& Co.] come in and take a look at it and see what’s going on for one, there may be things that they find that they say, ‘You know, if you change this or if you did this a little better, we could get more money for your practice down the line.’ Andy told me that. He said, ‘Probably with your practice it’s not,’ because mine was basically a cosmetic practice, so it’s a little bit different, but he said a lot of times there are things that they can tell you to do that will increase the value of your practice. That would be one.”

Start Early

“I don’t know if they would suggest that to be two years out or three years out. [NOTE: ddsmatch Southwest recommends dentists begin the planning process 3-5 years ahead of retirement.] The fee to have that done was not very much. I don’t know if they still do it, but that fee was refunded back to me once the practice sold. That was a no-brainer.”

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

“The second reason is you don’t know when anything’s going to happen. You don’t know when you’re going to need to sell. From everything I’ve heard, it takes a long time to get everything in order. Particularly if something happens, it’s a little bit of an emergency to go in and try to get everything you need to get done in a short period of time. Then you go through a lot of different people to see who’s going to work best, what’s going to happen and what have you. When you’re going through all of that, that can become a little bit of a hassle. If you get that done and get completely prepared, I think everybody’s going to feel a whole lot better about everything.”

Keep the Sale Under Your Hat

“The other thing, I don’t think everybody does this, at least the friends I’ve talked to didn’t do that. One of the things that they do, or at least Andy did, maybe this is the philosophy of ddsmatch [Southwest], and I never heard of this before, was don’t tell anybody you’re going to sell. Don’t tell anybody you’re thinking about it. It was all one of those things where if everybody knows and your practice has been on the market for a year, I guess it’s like if your house has been on sale for a year: ‘Nobody’s bought it? Something’s wrong. It’s either priced too high, there’s something wrong with the house.’ Everybody gets to thinking, ‘Well, how come nobody’s bought it in a year?’ If no one even knows your practice is for sale, and all of a sudden they bring someone to the table, they have no idea what’s going on.

“I found out with a good friend of mine in Tennessee, that’s exactly what happened to him. He had just whoever come out and evaluate it. The evaluation was fine. It’s almost like he put it up in the paper that the practice was for sale. He didn’t do that, but it was certainly not kept a secret. He didn’t sell for probably two years, and that’s exactly why, because everybody thought, ‘Now, wait a minute. This guy hasn’t sold his practice in a year. Something must be wrong.’ There wasn’t anything wrong with it. It was a great practice. I don’t know if that’s [ddsmatch Southwest]’s philosophy or if that’s Andy’s philosophy, but that was tremendous to do that right there. Just keep it silent, let Andy do all the work, and it worked out beautifully.”

Dr. Conditt’s Advice to Anyone Considering Selling a Dental Practice: ”Call ddsmatch”

“Without a doubt, I would have them call and talk to ddsmatch [Southwest]  and just ask them, ‘What do I need to do? Should we get evaluated now?’ I’m sure they’ll ask you, ‘How long out do you think you are?’ I would literally tell anyone, call those guys up. Follow exactly what they say to do, and just let them do it. There was zero effort on my part to do this.

ddsmatch [Southwest] . . . were very honest. They were very forthright in everything they said. There was no hiding anything. They let you know exactly how the process is going to work, what’s going on. Blue [& Co.] . . . has a great reputation. They did everything very well. What I noticed afterwards is that once some of the banks and the lenders saw who was evaluating the practice, there was no discussion on what the evaluation. Was it really worth that? Was it not worth that? I guess they had the reputation that you just take their word for what it’s worth. That was great.

“Andy actually hooked me and Dr. Blair, who bought my practice, hooked us both up with attorneys. Even I asked her about her attorney. Both our attorneys were fantastic. They didn’t drag anything on. They were not expensive. They said everything exactly like it ought to be. They actually knew each other. They had done this before, so they knew how to get this handled. That was incredibly smooth. Andy was a dream to work with because literally, like I said, I did nothing. When he had to get some numbers, he just basically said, ‘If you don’t mind letting me go into your computer, I’ll do it while you’re working. I’ll just get the numbers, and you can go on.’ They’re asking us to pull numbers off of our software system, and it’s like, ‘We don’t know how to do that. We have no idea how to get these numbers you’re asking.’ They just go in it and do it themselves. Those things right there are really, really invaluable for us when, particularly, we don’t know how to get that stuff, and we don’t want to jack with that. We don’t know, are the attorneys good? Are the evaluations going to be good? Are the people behind the evaluations honest and everything?

“Everything was completely on the up and up and even above that.”

“Call ddsmatch [Southwest] and just say, ‘Look, hold my hand. Walk me through this thing. Tell me what to do.’  It’s the easiest thing you can do.”

If you are considering putting up your dental practice for sale, ddsmatch Southwest will give you a free, no obligation Practice Transition Assessment. Contact us today to learn more about their Trusted Transition Process and what ddsmatch Southwest can do for you!

More Dentists Moving On: What that Means When You’re Ready to Put Your Dental Practice For Sale

What dental trends should you be aware of as a dental practice owner? When you own a small business, planning for retirement involves much more than putting aside money in a retirement account. Knowing the trends in dentist retirement is an important first step before putting your dental practice for sale. New statistics from the ADA serve as an important signpost on the road to retirement.

ADA Statistics and Retirement Trends

The ADA recently released statistics from a Dental Workforce study showing that as of 2015 the average age of dentists in the United States was 50 years old. This statistic reveals that most dentists will reach retirement age in the next 5-10 years. Knowing that the market for dental practices is likely to be flooded soon, it is beneficial to start planning and strategizing today for your retirement, so you don’t put your practice on the market at the wrong time. Your dental practice may be worth more today than in 5 years when more dentists decide to put their dental practice for sale.  

Questions and Concerns About Retirement

Below we address some of the most common questions and concerns dental practice owners have when thinking about retirement. Even if you aren’t planning on retiring soon, it is a good idea to think through these questions and have a game plan for the next 5-10 years.

What is my practice worth?

Finding your practice’s value is a complex process. A general rule of thumb for valuations can be applied, but these estimations can often be inaccurate. Your best method for finding how much your practice is worth is talking to a dental broker. Brokers specialize in these transitions and know what market factors will play into your practice’s value. The experts at ddsmatch Southwest will help you determine your local market rate so you can make the most out of your practice.

Should I add an associate?

Often dentists will choose a slow transition out of their practice by adding an associate who will eventually take over the practice. This is a good idea for dentists who don’t want to put their dental practice for sale right now but want to cut back on hours and maintain a foot in the door. ddsmatch Southwest can help you find the perfect associate, whether you are planning for retirement or just want a little help.

Should I sell to a DSO?

A Dental Service Organization, or DSO, manages the non-clinical side of a dental practice. Deciding if you want to sell to a DSO is a personal decision. A DSO will relieve the headache of managing the business side of a dental practice and could make working in your practice more attractive for potential associates. However, many dentists who have built their business from the ground up, find it difficult to think of their practice changing due to a DSO’s management. To learn more about the recent rise of DSOs and the benefits they may provide read this piece by Dental Money Digest source.

How do I find the right buyer?

If you do not sell your practice to a DSO, how do you find the right buyer? ddsmatch Southwest helps dentists in Texas and New Mexico find the perfect buyer for their dental practice. The brokers at ddsmatch Southwest will use our Trusted Transition Process™ to determining your wants and needs and decide how much your practice is worth. Then they will find a buyer that matches the skill set and personality of your office. Before you put your dental practice for sale, call the experienced brokers at ddsmatch Southwest for a consultation.

What should I do to prepare for retirement?

If you’re planning on retiring in the next 3-5 years, it is time to start planning now. Talk to a financial advisor to determine if you have enough set aside to retire. Dental Economics has an excellent post about planning for retirement to retire on time.  Next, find an experienced broker to help you with the transition into retirement. A broker will guide you seamlessly through the next steps, so the years leading to retirement are a breeze.

What about my real estate?

When you put your dental practice for sale, that does not automatically include the real estate where your office is located. If you own the real estate, you will need to sell that as well. The process is not difficult but may change who ends up as a potential buyer since they need financing for both the practice and the real estate. The good news is both parts of the transaction can often be closed at the same time. Another option is selling the dental practice but keeping the real estate and becoming a landlord. This post goes into more detail what options are available to buyers and sellers in this type of transaction. Talk with your broker about which option fits your lifestyle and your budget.

Do I sell now to get maximum value or wait?

This question can only be answered on a case by case basis since the values and trends of dental practices vary. However, based on the above statistics from the ADA, putting your dental practice for sale before the market floods will help you get the maximum value. Talk to an experienced dental broker with knowledge of the local market and they will be able to advise you whether to sell now or wait.

I have a partner who won’t buy me out, what do I do?

Partnerships in dental practices can be beneficial for many reasons but tend to get mucky when there is a transition, and you don’t see eye to eye. ddsmatch Southwest helps dentists who are selling their ownership, even if it is a part ownership. We find buyers who are specifically looking to buy into a partnership, so everyone ends up with what they want. For more information on how this process works, and to find the answers to more specific legal questions that may apply to you, set up a consultation today.

How do I find someone I can trust to help?

This is by far the most important question you can ask before you put your dental practice for sale. You have spent your career building a thriving practice, and now you need to get the most out of its sale while leaving the kind of legacy you want. A dental broker with local experience, many years in the business, and proven examples of successful transitions is what you want. For dentists in Texas and New Mexico that broker is ddsmatch Southwest. The brokers at ddsmatch Southwest will take care of every detail and guide you through the transition process so you can retire with confidence.

Think Ahead about Putting Your Dental Practice for Sale

If there is a chance you will be retiring in the next 5-10 years, keep the above statistics and questions in mind. If you start planning now, you can ensure a smooth transition when the time comes. For more information contact ddsmatch Southwest and set up a consultation.

Looking for a General Dental Practice for Sale?

Dental CPA Answers Your Top Questions: What You Need to Know with a Dental Transition

If you’re looking for a general dental practice for sale so you can start out on your own, you need some expertise from those who have walked this path before you. Check out tips below before you get started so you can have a successful transition into a thriving dental practice.

Dealing with Non-Clinical Issues

As a dental practice owner, you will deal with much more than just patients. Non-clinical issues can take up a significant amount of time, so knowing how to deal with them is important to running a successful practice. Issues that come up with your employees or your patients should be dealt with straightforwardly, honestly, and quickly.  Ignoring an issue will not make it go away, it will only make it more difficult to address as time passes.

Decision Making in Your Practice

Before you start looking for a general dental practice for sale you need to learn how to think ahead when making decisions. It may be easy for you to decide on a care plan for your patients, but how do you decide when to replace dental equipment, buy a new copier, or hire a new hygienist? Below are some basic things to think about before you make decisions within your practice.

  • Back End Costs. Remember to factor in regular maintenance and usage costs for the things you buy. For example, buying a new copier might be a good idea for your practice, but you need to factor in all the additional costs to own this new copier. The ink and paper might cost more, meaning that instead of budgeting $50 per month on ink, toner, and paper, you are now spending $75. The cost to run and upkeep equipment is a long-term cost you need to account for.
  • “Me Too” Costs. If you have multiple employees be aware of “me too” costs you may encounter. This happens when one employee needs a new piece of equipment, for example, a new computer. Suddenly, your other employees are expecting the same upgrade, and you have to decide whether everyone needs an upgrade, or just wants what the first employee got.

Managing Employees

If you’re feeling anxious about managing employees, you are not alone! How do you motivate your team and create the type of atmosphere you want to work in? Many dentists find a morning meeting helpful so they can talk through the day, what patients are coming in, and any issues that have come up. Here are a few more tips for managing your employees well.

  • Create a Vision Statement. You surely have a vision for your practice. You know how you want it to run, the atmosphere you want to create, and the types of patients you want to attract before you even go looking for a general dental practice for sale. Create a vision statement and share this vision with your employees so they can help you create the practice you have worked so hard for.
  • Employee Motivation. Take the time to get to know your employees and find out how to motivate them. This will be different for everyone. Some employees thrive with words of affirmation while others desire additional training. If you can motivate your employees, your practice will reap the benefits.

A Successful 5-Year Plan

What will your life look like after you open your new practice? Do not make the mistake of thinking that buying a general dental practice for sale rather than building your practice from scratch means you can enjoy a large revenue stream immediately. You have paid for an established practice, but you still need to run the practice wisely and work to retain patients. Following this general 5-year plan will help you set realistic expectations for growing your business into a lasting venture.

Year 1 – Use this year to learn how to manage costs and create an atmosphere at your practice. You may not be building revenue as quickly as you want, but keeping costs down and finding a good rhythm will set you up for future success. Try to build value into your practice rather than getting as many new patients in the door as possible. When your patients value the work you do, they will come back and refer their friends.

Year 2 – When you’re comfortable with how your office runs you can start building revenue. Find out how many patients you can see in one day. Advertise or offer patient referral incentives. Building revenue slowly will help you and your staff adjust and learn without feeling overwhelmed. Remember you are running a marathon not a sprint.

Years 3-5 – After two years running your practice you will learn how to anticipate your overhead costs. Take a look around and decide what to invest in next. Do you need to buy new equipment? Should you hire a new hygienist? Find out the rate of return for any staff you hire or equipment you buy before you move forward with these decisions.

During the first five years of your dental practice, surround yourself with trustworthy advisors. Finding an attorney, financial advisor, and other experts who you trust to give you advice will help you with any difficult decisions you could face in the future.

How to Find a General Dental Practice for Sale

When you’re ready to make a transition in your career, whether it is buying a general dental practice, or selling your practice, call ddsmatch Southwest. Our team makes the transition seamless by matching buyers and sellers for the best possible outcome. For more information set up a consultation today.

Putting Your Dental Office for Sale: Lease or Sell?